About a week ago, I submitted a big pile of forms applying for permission under SOCPA to stage a series of events in Parliament Square.
The purpose and details of each event were described as follows:
Reason for event:
I HAS MESSAGE TO SHARE WITH PEOPLES
OH, HAI. THIS IS MY MESSAGE. I WILL CARRY AS BANNER OR WEAR MESSAGE IN BIG LETTERS ON T-SHIRT:
Then, on each form, I provided the message that I wanted to display prominently within the designated area. Each form specified a 15-minute window during which each individual message would be displayed.
The police took their sweet time granting approval (I had to request that the document be faxed this morning, and this was managed a mere 10 minutes before the first demonstration was due to start) but the important thing to remember is that permission was granted.
Here… look for yourself:
If the police receive an application that does not require police permission because the police do not regard your intended action to be a demonstration, they tell you so. Here’s an example of this kind of response:
OK, so by now you should be up to speed; here it is in a nutshell (and I really can’t stress enough how absurd this is)…
The police have, in their wisdom, decided that police permission is required before displaying *any* of the following messages within a designated area:
– I CAN HAS CHEEZBURGER?
– I MADE YOU A COOKIE… BUT I EATED IT
– DONT CRY PLEEZ GORDON… YOU CAN HAS COOKIE
– HABEUS CORPUS. NOT URS.
– I CAN HAS FREED SPEECH? KTHNXBYE
– FLOOR IS LAVA… SO I’S CLIMBIN UR FURNITUR
– DO NOT WANT!
– WMD? ORLY?
– IM IN UR DESIGNATED AREA… SUBVERTN UR LAWS
– IM IN UR DESIGNATED AREA… BEIN A LOUD SPKR
– OH, HAI!
– OH, HAI… IM DEMONSTRATIN!
– RANDOM CAT IS NOT AMUSED
– TAXPAYER CAT IS NOT AMUSED
– FEED TEH HUNGREES!
– GRARRGH! SURPRIZE GOATSE!
– A DREEM… I HAS ONE
– IM IN UR BEACHES… FIGHTN UR NAZIS
– I HAS THE TORTUR EVIDENZ… LET ME SHOW YOU DEMZ
– ZOMG! TERRIST! OH NOES!
– UR BEIN SILLY… SRSLY
– BUT I WUVS YOU
I know… bizarre, isn’t it? I can understand some of the messages being interpreted as political in nature, but what has the world come to when you need police permission to ask if you can has a bloody cheeseburger within 1km of Parliament?!
WIN A ‘SOCPA: LOLCAT’ T-SHIRT!
Anyway, from today, I’m launching a brand new series of t-shirts that are illegal within a designated area without police permission.
All you have to do to win one (with the slogan of your choice) is break the law!
Simply pop down to Westminster, have your photo taken in front of Parliament while holding a sign that reads ‘I CAN HAS CHEEZBURGER?’ and send your photo to this email address:
manic AT bloggerheads DOT com
The first authentic photo in my inbox takes the prize.
Have fun, and have a happy Valentines Day.
(I love you Internets!)
[Psst! Police peeps! Some of us aren’t as tricky as you lot, and we’d appreciate permission being granted before the demonstration is actually due to take place. Lift your bloody game. Also, it’s generally a good idea to put your hand over the phone before saying something indiscreet (such as; “He’s obviously one of these people playing a game!”) to one of your colleagues.]
UPDATE (16 Feb) – Ladies and gentlemen, we have a winner! D-Notice will be receiving an illegal t-shirt with his slogan of choice in the coming days. Shirts* should also be in the Bloggerheads shop soon, so hang in there.
(*Yes, every slogan used will first have to pass the ‘Do police regard it to be a demonstration?’ test first. I’m quite looking forward to the paperwork on some future non-LOLCAT slogans.)